Deer may have caused pick-up crash which claimed life of 20-year-old Mellis man

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A young man may have been trying to avoid a deer on a country road when he

was fatally injured in a crash as he drove home to Mellis, an inquest has heard.

Will Smith, 20, was declared dead at the scene where his pick-up had collided

head-on with a tree in Eye Road, Hoxne on the late evening of July 22.

On Friday an inquest at Bury St Edmunds heard that Mr Smith had been

forced by road closures to take a route he would not normally use to reach his

home at The Common, Mellis.

Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said tests had confirmed that he was well under the legal drink-drive limit.

In a statement, John Greenwood said he had heard a noise outside his bungalow

in Eye Road, Hoxne and went to investigate, finding Mr Smith inside the crashed

pick-up.

Mr Greenwood said red deer were frequently seen in the area and crossed the

road.

An examination of Mr Smith’s vehicle found no defects which could have contributed

to the accident.

Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said police who investigated the collision were unable

to say conclusively what had caused Mr Smith to lose control on a bend but being

confronted by a large animal such as a deer in the road was a possibility.

His father Simon Smith described him as a “natural driver” having had much experience with farm machinery. He added in a statement: “Many people miss Will. His personality and nature was exemplary.”

Dr Dean recorded a conclusion of accidental death, stating a deer being the cause was a “significant possibility”.